I know that we are all living in unprecedented times, and the entire sports world right now, at least here in the United States, is a big question mark.
Here in early May, we are unsure if the NBA season will resume, the MLB season will resume and if the college or NFL seasons will either start on time or commence. I believe we are starting to see the light at the end of the what seems to be a very, very long tunnel.
It’s been encouraging to see certain leagues here in the United States give it the old college try. The first to do so was UFC, which held an event in front of an empty arena in Jacksonville, Fla., over the weekend.
This comes only days after NASCAR announced that it will return to actual racing beginning this weekend. I mean, sure, it has been somewhat entertaining watching actual NASCAR drivers drive in simulators, competitively, but it is not the same.
Also this week, some NBA teams either have reopened their training facilities or announced when they will be doing so. I’m sure there are still a slew of proper protocols that need to be followed, including social distancing amongst all who are allowed to enter.
I know that we just had the NFL Draft recently, but that doesn’t guarantee the season will start on time. The Saints were the first to cancel minicamp, with head coach Sean Payton basically telling his team, see you at Training Camp.
On the baseball front, the first real form of professional sports that we’ve seen played in person recently began in the Korean baseball league. Players were introduced wearing masks, and the games were played in empty stadiums where the only butts in the seats were media. It was very reminiscent of the April 2015 game at Camden Yards in Baltimore between the Orioles and the White Sox. The game took place in an empty stadium due to the violence taking place in the city of Baltimore.
With the plug pulled on the NCAA baseball season, the focus now shifts towards fall sports, particularly football, which is the most popular and biggest money maker for many schools across the nation. NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert said this week that if schools aren’t back to normal procedures with students in classrooms when the fall semesters start, then there will be no sports.
One thing that I do know is that not if, but when sports do come back to life in the U.S., I believe it will be a huge boost to economies with more people going out to purchase not only tickets, but also merchandise and concessions at these particular events. It will also open up more jobs, and with the unemployment situation right now, I’m sure that will be a breath of fresh air for many.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. While it is encouraging to at least see the light at the end of the tunnel, I believe we still have a ways to go to get things back to normal in the sports world.